Photo: President Cristina Fernández of Argentina (right), greets Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, before chairing a meeting of the Security Council. UN Photo/Mark Garten [cropped] - Photo: 2013

UN Security Council Urges Regional Cooperation

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

GENEVA (IDN) – The 15-member UN Security Council has pledged to promote closer and more operational cooperation between the world body and regional and sub-regional organizations in the fields of conflict early warning, prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

In a statement on August 6, the Security Council also recognized the need to enhance the coordination of efforts to strengthen the global response to current threats to international peace and security posed by illegal trafficking, terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, among others.

In addition, at a high-level debate on August 6, the Council reiterated its commitment to continue to cooperate with international, regional and sub-regional organizations and establish arrangements to share experiences and lessons learned.

The debate was presided over by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina, which holds the Council’s presidency this month.

Explaining the rationale behind the need to further strengthen dialogue and exchange of information among regional and sub-regional organizations and the UN, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Ban said: “Regional and sub-regional organizations have deep knowledge, unique insights and strong local networks. These elements are critical for mediation, planning a peacekeeping operation or helping a country to build lasting peace.”

“We are better at sharing information and analysis on brewing crises, but we have to work harder on swift response and long-term prevention,” he noted, asking countries to examine how they can expand their cooperation in pursuit of international peace and security.

“We need to learn from the lessons of our collaborations to build ever more innovative and flexible partnership arrangements that draw on our respective strengths,” he said. “Only through cooperation will we meet our shared aspirations for a more peaceful world.”

Ban highlighted examples of on-going valuable cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations across the globe.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, he pointed to the joint missions the UN had carried out with the Organization of American States (OAS) to combat illicit trafficking. In Africa, he noted that the UN is working with the African Union (AU) in joint peacekeeping and mediation efforts in Sudan’s Darfur region and in facilitating the political transition in Somalia.

In addition, the UN and the AU have also worked with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.

The Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is also an example of regional cooperation, as it is supported by 11 African leaders, the AU, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the UN. This effort, Ban stressed “represents the best opportunity for years for forging a durable peace.”

In the Middle East and North Africa, the UN and the League of Arab States (LAS) are working to support inclusive political processes in Tunisia, Libya and Yemen, and they continue to search for a political solution to the crisis in Syria, including through the deployment of the UN-Arab League joint envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi.

“Of course, we sometimes face challenges when working together. Our organizations do not always have the same approach to a given crisis. Our diverse mandates and membership can lead to different perspectives,” Ban said, adding that the open debate “is a welcome opportunity to explore the nature of these challenges and consider how to improve cooperation.”

Ahead of the Security Council high-level debate, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman urged on June 13 participants at an international counter-terrorism conference to work to enhance regional coordination and coherence to overcome the threat of terrorism and extremism.

Countering terrorism

“We see terrorism expanding its geographic range, reaching distant and unlikely corners and not confined to a select group of countries or a single region,” Feltman said at the opening session of the International Counter-Terrorism Focal Points Conference in Geneva.

“The UN is your partner in enhancing regional links,” Feltman told participants of the two-day conference, who included more than 200 Government officials, national counter-terrorism experts, UN representatives and practitioners from international, regional and civil society organizations.

He also highlighted the need to learn from each other and work across sectors to address socio-economic and political conditions, such as unemployment, lack of education and absence of rule of law and good governance, which “let terrorists gain sympathy, spread extremism and develop a narrative in support for violence.”

Feltman also noted the importance of national counter-terrorism focal points to ensure that all relevant sections of Government, including those who are not traditionally associated with security, working together.

“Through this Conference, the United Nations intends to further emphasize the critical role that counter-terrorism coordinators play in the fight against terrorism at the national, regional and international levels,” the UN official said.

Emphasizing the importance of human rights in finding sustainable solutions to countering extremism and terrorism, Feltman said that “if we allow compromise on human rights, we are not countering terrorism but letting it get its way.”

The UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), as established by the Secretary-General in 2005 and endorsed by the General Assembly through the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, was adopted by consensus in 2006. The mandate of the CTITF is to enhance coordination and coherence of counter-terrorism efforts of the United Nations system. The Task Force consists of 31 international entities which by virtue of their work have, have a stake in multilateral counter-terrorism efforts. Each entity makes contributions consistent with its own mandate.

While the primary responsibility for the implementation of the Global Strategy rests with Member States, CTITF ensures that the UN system is attuned to the needs of Member States, to provide them with the necessary policy support and spread in-depth knowledge of the Strategy, and wherever necessary, expedite delivery of technical assistance.

The primary goal is to maximize each entity‘s comparative advantage by delivering as one to help Member States implement the four pillars of the Strategy, which are: measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; measures to prevent and combat terrorism; measures to build states’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard; measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.

CTITF organizes its work through Working Groups and counter-terrorism related projects in areas where cooperation among United Nations system actors can add value for the implementation of the Strategy.

Several Security Council mandated bodies, including the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, the Al-Qaida Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Teams and the 1540 Monitoring Team and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are key partners under the CTITF framework. [IDN-InDepthNews – August 6, 2013]

Photo: President Cristina Fernández of Argentina (right), greets Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, before chairing a meeting of the Security Council. UN Photo/Mark Garten [cropped]

2013 IDN-InDepthNews | Analysis That Matters

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